Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prometheus : On Freddy In Space, Everyone's About To Hear Me Cream

^ Art by Denis Gualtieri ^
Hype.  It's one of the biggest killers of cinematic enjoyment out there.  Quite frankly, no movie could ever live up to the incredible amounts of hype which have been surrounding Prometheus for what seems like forever now.  Ridley Scott's return to sci-fi/the Alien universe has been hyped up and anxiously anticipated for so long that it was pretty much a guarantee that the final product would disappoint many.  Not surprisingly, there seem to be many who are in fact incredibly disappointed by it, spewing their anger and frustrations all over their blogs, Facebook and the ever evil IMDb message boards.  To these people I say; I don't know what the hell you expected, but the Prometheus I saw last night was fucking incredible, and the hyped up geek in me was fully satisfied.  In fact, he's jumping for goddamn joy.  And he kinda wants to go back to the theater again tonight and donate another 12 bucks to the cause.

The way I see it, the only way this movie could've lived up to all the hype that it's been getting (for everyone, that is) is if watching it actually changed the life of the viewer, with Ridley Scott providing the answers the film's characters are seeking out; why are we here and what is our purpose?  In fact, I've read many reviews and opinions where people seem to be upset that the film asks big questions like these, but never actually provides answers.  I'm sorry, but we do realize that this is a movie here, and that Scott is merely a filmmaker, not a God, right?  No one can actually answer questions like those, and the movie he has made here is about the journey a group of characters take to find those answers, not about the answers themselves.  Scott isn't holding out on the mysteries of life and creation so he can get more money out of us with a future sequel, I assure you.  He's a smart man, that's for sure, but hold the answers to the universe he does not.  Sorry, but if that fact has disappointed you, that's pretty damn silly.  Science is about asking questions and searching for answers, and this movie is all about the search, which is why so many questions are left unanswered in the end, both in regards to story points and life itself.  I guess that bothers a lot of people, but I personally like movies that leave questions and discussions in their wake.

I feel like so many people these days get caught up in small little gripes and issues they have with any given movie, and forget to just allow themselves to be entertained.  Movies are entertainment, first and foremost, and they exist primarily to provide an escape from our daily lives, and keep us occupied for a couple hours by showing us stuff we don't normally get to experience.  A film like Prometheus is more than just mindless Michael Bay entertainment, this is true, but I feel like in all the negative opinions I've read about it, the majority of those people are hating on it over small little problems they had with the script, things like minor inconsistencies between it and Alien and perhaps even some tiny plot holes.  We've all become so goddamn critical, and I'm pretty damn sure we would've had these same problems with a film like Alien, had it come along a couple decades later.  So few people seem to be able to just sit back and enjoy a movie anymore, which really makes me sad.

I'm not saying anyone who didn't love Prometheus as much as I is wrong here, it's just that I personally found it to be enormously entertaining and engaging, and I wish more people could look past all the hype and the script issues and just get that enjoyment out of it.  Have we become too jaded and cynical to really let ourselves enjoy anything anymore?  It's OK to have fun and not hate shiny new spins on our favorite things from the past, I promise.

The best way I can describe Prometheus is that it's Alien on a grand scale, not so much about a group of people fighting evil monsters but rather about how those people came to be in the first place, and how their creation relates to the monsters they're battling.  From all the interviews I've read over the last several months, Ridley Scott set out to make a film set in the Alien universe that was bigger in scope than any of those films, and that's exactly what he's done here.  The face huggers, chest bursters and Xenomorphs are merely used as a jumping off point for a much grander story, which is really impressive given how easy it would've been for Scott and the writers to just rehash the same old shit and use the already established monsters to make another big paycheck.  I think the coolest thing about the movie is in fact how it's totally its own thing, while still very much feeling like an expansion on that whole universe.  We as Alien fans are truly lucky to have Scott as our space jockey once again, as there's perhaps nobody on this planet who cares about the material more than he does.  How any Alien fan could not appreciate an effort like this is kinda bewildering to me.

So, how exactly does the film relate to that Alien universe we all know and love?  That's the big question most have been pondering for a solid year now.  And I'm happy to say that Prometheus channels the spirit of that universe incredibly well, rife with creatures that feel like they were ripped right out of those films and little touches that are almost even recreations of scenes and moments from the 1979 film.  Is it a straight up prequel to that movie?  By the end of it, I think you're gonna be leaning more towards yes on that one.  Not a direct prequel, in that it doesn't set up for everything that's to come when Ripley & Co. join the fun, but I'd certainly be hard pressed to disagree with anyone calling it a prequel.  In many way it comes off like an epic prequel to an Alien reboot, a reboot which seems set to be tossed aside in favor of an even grander and more epic quest for knowledge.  Don't want to say much more about that, but I will say that you're probably gonna soak your undies when you see where the film leaves off.  #nerdchills

The performances, as even those who didn't dig the movie have pointed out, are all top notch, with Michael Fassbender and original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Noomi Rapace standing out as the highlights.  As android David, Fassbender is utterly captivating (and of course ultra sexy) and as a scientist who will stop at nothing to find out why she exists, Rapace is completely badass, giving even Ripley a run for her money on the tough chick scale.  The amount of abuse Rapace's character goes through during the film is absolutely monumental, with one standout scene of self torture finding itself in the annals of all time great sci-fi/horror sequences.  Those who have seen the movie will immediately know which scene I'm referring to.  Ho.  ly.  Shit.

Another standout are the incredible locations, which are oftentimes mind blowing to behold.  Whoever did the location scouting on the flick deserves some kind of serious award, if an award for such a thing even exists.  I don't know that it does, but it sure as hell should.  It's like watching a Planet Earth Blu-ray at times, totally breath taking and awe inspiring.  The fact that a lot of these places actually exist here on our planet is amazing to me.

Great science fiction films entertain as much as they question life itself and since Prometheus does both in equal parts, I've gotta consider it one hell of a great science fiction film, the best I've seen in quite some time.  I thoroughly enjoyed and was highly interested in every single second of it, and I can't recommend enough that you check it out, especially if you're a fan of the Alien films.  Part Ancient Aliens, part Alien '79 and part action packed summer blockbuster, Prometheus is visually stunning, packed with intense action as well as thought provoking depth, and full of disgusting and horrifying creatures and set pieces that evoke the spirit of Alien ... many may call this one a victim of over hype, but I personally couldn't have possibly asked for any more from it.  In fact, the only gripe I even had with it was a questionable old age makeup, heavily plastered onto the face of Guy Pearce.  Certainly not gonna let something minor like that hurt my enjoyment of such an ass kicking movie though.  A movie need not be perfect for it to be totally awesome, and Prometheus is totally fucking awesome.

Don't go in expecting Alien, a straight up horror in space slasher flick, or a life altering experience and I'm pretty damn sure you'll come out of the theater fully satisfied.

Wherever he is, I've got a feeling Dan O'Bannon has a huge smile on his face right about now.

Since there's so much to discuss about the movie, I'd love it if we could get some discussion going in the comments section.  So if you've seen it, feel free to talk about it below!


Scott (gotankgo) said...

Right on. This makes me want to see the movie even more now.

Dr Blood said...

I enjoyed it. I'm not going to rehash my own uber long blog post here, but we said much the same thing even though I'm not a science fiction fan. To me, it was just Alien all over again but with homages to 2001 and lots of Michael Bay-esque explosions. It was a typical Summer movie with nothing much to think about at all except stuffing more sugary snacks in my mouth as I watched it. Noomi Rapace was great and, if there's a sequel to this, she'd better be in it.

Halloweenman666 said...

yet again you've made an excited geek even more exciteder (haha) than I already was. Without giving too much away are there Space Jockeys and were they amazing and do they actually add to the story or just fan service?

Johnny said...

The space jockeys are in there and they're a huge part of the story. I think you'll be quite pleased with that aspect of the film!

Anonymous said...


Halloweenman666 said...

Nice! Thanks for the heads up on the Alien Blu-Ray box set contest as well. Hopefully the wife and I will have a babysitter for wednesday night when we can finally go see Prometheus. I missed Avengers in the theatre and I'll be damned if I miss this one.

Anonymous said...

Me and my girlfriend both thought the movie really really sucked balls..................and I feel bad for throwing away $20.

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked The Avengers was still in theaters, unless you're from a small town with a hole in the wall theater. But I digress, Prometheus was amazing and I plan on seeing it again. I haven't seen a movie this thought provoking since V For Vendetta.

MJ said...

I really hated it- and not because of false expectations.

***Potential Spoilers, though I will aim to be vague****

On its own terms it answers the origins of life in the 1st minute, meaning I sat there for an hour waiting for the characters to catch up with the audience. This doesn't have to be an issue if there are other philisophical revelations, but there aren't.

The characterisation is awful- a biologist who see's an alien and isn't bothered enopugh to even walk over to it? A geologist who never mentions anything about the planet? A scientist who ONLY talks in terms of faith? (X-Files Scully was religious but at least showed confliction.... Mmmm... Scully....)

The actors did pull off the roles very well. I give them credit for that- hell, even extra credit for how clunky some of the dialogue is.

but even the plotting is all over the place.
The black stuff does whatever it needs to for the script- it has no actual 'rules'.
The medichamber is set for 1 sex only. So even thoguh they can fly accross the galaxy, they can't update software?

Look, I can live with all of that as long as the film is fun or tense- but the score undercut everything for me.

It's not an awful film. The design is amazing, the actors are good, and the themes are interesting. I don't care if it stands on its own feet or exists as a prequel- but I do care that it seems sloppy and insulting of intelligence- at least to me.

All of this is just my opinion, I'm happy for people to feel otherwise. At least it means ome people are getting something out of it. I'm not a hater, it's cool that it got made and it may lead to more sci-fi films, Alien or otherwise. I just feel this was a really crappy film.

Johnny said...

Wish everyone enjoyed it as much as I did, but we've all got different tastes. That's the beauty of the movies; one man's trash is another's treasure!

Rian Nielsen said...

I definately enjoyed it and was happy I paid $19 for the IMAX 3D midnight release. It seems that the primary facet of the film most people are struggling with the lack of applied science as we know it. I go into great detail on this over at the Stumptown Horror blog, but will sum up here: These aren't scientists, they're science hipsters from the future. Its hip to think about the big questions but the actual work aspect of the scientific method has been lost of the years. Everyone is living off a trust fund here, hanging out, and knocking boots. Case in point, when David asks why he was made the answer is only, "because we could."

Nick said...

I'm a huge alien fan, and a huge fan of the franchise included not just the original movie. I agree with a lot of what you said. There is no doubt that the movie is very good, it's just bridging the gap between LV-426 and the events of LV-223 is a bit of a stretch. Considering that the original final concept was that the eggs were a weapon used in bombing runs on their enemies not the goo. The black goo as a genesis engine for the xenos came out of nowhere. Yes it adds more depth and philosophy to the idea which I am totally behind, but its an abandonment of what the original concept was. I know that when you create something you have every right to change it, but it would be nice for once to have someone stick to the concept they originally designed. Still a great movie regardless.

Mike said...

I finally got to saw it tonight and I have to admit I went in thinking 'Alien'. I left thinking 'Arthur C Clarke'.

In the Space and Time Odysseys, Clarke has a race known as the firstborn. Basically they were the first intelligent life. They created us then jump started our technological evolution with the introduction of the monolith. The firstborn believe that the universe can only support a certain number of civilizations so they create and destroy civilizations to keep balance. They targeted Earth but gave us a pass for an unknown reason.

There is also a regular back and forth with artificial intelligences on topics like 'role', 'creator', 'purpose', 'function', etc. There are often parallels drawn between that relationship and the one we have with our creators... the firstborn.

Scott mentioned that David was highly influenced by HAL9000. I wonder if the Engineers were inspired ( in whole or in part ) by the firstborn.